Interview with Paprocki&Brzozowski

Tell us, how have you met and got the idea to work together?
BRZOZOWSKI: We've met 17 years ago, while studying. I was studying design and Marcin studied on fabrics. We had a lot of friends in common and at some point we started to live together as a group of friends. Marcin assisted me in different trendy competitions and so carried away that we work together so far.
PAPROCKI: At the beginning we became friends, then began to make small steps in local competitions for school, and later created our own brand.
BRZOZOWSKI: Originally, the brand was called «Brzozowski&Paprocki». We thought that to call it in alphabetical order would be best, but everyone called vice versa and we decided to dwell it on «Paprocki&Brzozowski» if it's more convenient for people.
PAPROCKI: I was extremely happy that now my name comes first.
How often do people get confused between you two?
BRZOZOWSKI: Previously, they got confused pretty often, now less, or maybe we started to pay less attention to it. It doesn’t distract us at all. If someone on the street will shout out Marcins name, I’ll turn around as well.
PAPROCKI: We have very similar names, so it is understandable that it is difficult to remember. At times, even our closest employees confuse our names.
BRZOZOWSKI: Most often they say just 'guys'. The easiest and safer way.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of working in a duet?
BRZOZOWSKI: The great advantage is that in a situation where one is bored or begins to doubt, the second one will always be there to pull it up and won’t allow the other one to stay in that condition for a long time. A big plus is that we are very good friends and we can feel each other's emotions in a flash. That helps a lot.
PAPROCKI: Actually, there’re much more pluses by working  in a duet.  The only minus I can see is that before making a final decision you have to put heads together: it is impossible to make a decision only by yourself. Maybe for someone it is a disadvantage, but we think this is a big plus. Two heads are better than one for sure.  We can share responsibilities and keep up with much more things than one person will do. Once, we came with motto for us: "all our failures we divide by two and all our successes we multiply by two". It feels better and more positive. 
 Do you make friends with other Polish designers?
BRZOZOWSKI: There's not much time for friendship. We have our friends who are not from the fashion world, but there are some designer with whom it is nice to spend some time and to talk. In fact, there are no people with whom we do not want to talk. There are friends and just familiar people.
PAPROCKI: We do not see them as a competitors. Of course, if we treat other designers like competitors, we would do it only for motivation. We love Robert Kupisz as a person, for example. 
Do you find Western designers as your competitors?
BRZOZOWSKI: We understand that the West has great brands with great traditions, but we do not have complexes about this, because we know it would be very difficult to compete with them. Our brand exists only 15 years, so how can we compare such a young brand with brands from the West, it is pointless and only leads to complexes development. 
PAPROCKI: In Poland, the interest to fashion is developing. We follow Polish fashion from its origins of our work together and I can say that it has changed a lot. But still, it is not like in the West, people here are not so interested in fashion. The only thing we can be glad of is a Polish rapid development in fashion industry. But anyway, we do not have it like in Paris or New York, where the whole town lives fashion.
Are there any chances for selling polish things on the West?
BRZOZOWSKI: Absolutely. We were working with a Parisian boutique. It was closed for personal reasons, but our things were presented there for 3-4 seasons.
PAPROCKI: Our clothes was shown near Kenzo and Paul Smith brands. Boutique’s owner told us that we have no reasons to worry about and that our collections are quite popular and being successfully sold.
BRZOZOWSKI: Always, when we are abroad we are looking at clothes from famous brands and even check how they were sewed. After all, we understand that we did everything properly and we do not feel any difference. We pay a great attention to the way things are sewn, so it's even our fad. 
Do you know any Russian designers?
PAPROCKI: We know Valentin Yudashkin, because he had fashion shows in Paris, also he had a fashion show recently in Warsaw at the Russian Embassy. I also know Ulyana Sergeenko. We know a lot of designers, because we are interested in fashion. For us it is not just a profession, it is our hobby and passion.
What about the Russian women from the fashion world?
PAPROCKI: Of course we know them - Sasha Pivovarova, Natasha Poly, for example. There any many of them Polish as well as Russians. Again, it proves how beautiful Slavic girls are.
How the crisis affected the Polish fashion? And how do you deal with it?
PAPROCKI: To be fair, we didn’t feel the crisis on our own skin. We were afraid of it, but I think the market in which we operate have not felt the crisis. Moreover, we often sew things for certain events like weddings and for such an important occasion women will always have money. 
I’ve noticed that a lot of Polish designers started to create Basic collections and so do you. Does it help to overcome the crisis?
PAPROCKI: We were one of the first designers who opened their online boutique. It was a few years ago and at that time everything was just developing. It brought us a great recognition after which other designers started to open online boutiques. We mainly sell our basic collection - PLANTS through the internet.
BRZOZOWSKI: This collection is designed for young people - it is cheaper. We have sweatshirts and t-shirts in there, but this season we will expand the collection. I hope that it will continue to stay so popular.
PAPROCKI: I’d like to talk about our new collection, but its too early yet. 
Then, maybe let’s talk about your last collection?
PAPROCKI: Our latest collection was called - SEX. We wanted to name it as something provocative. Of course, we controlled that the clothes were sexy enough, fresh and gave self-confidence, but wasn’t too vulgar. A lot of people were surprised and said that this collection wasn’t so outright as they thought, but it is all very conditioned and depends on who loves what kind of sex. 
What are you most proud of?
BRZOZOWSKI: On the whole, we are proud of this collection as well as all of ours collections. We treat it as our child on whom we worked long and very hard. We still have not lost that spark to our work and we work with the same fuse. A week after the fashion show we already start thinking about something completely new. 
PAPROCKI: We are proud of our boutique, we are proud that our cloths are being sold in over 20 other Polish boutiques that co-operate with us. Number of people who wear our cloths is growing. And we are proud that our line - PLANTS is so popular.
Have you had any arguments during your work and how do you cope with them?
BRZOZOWSKI: It happens that we have big arguments and, first of all, we are trying to cope with ourselves. Of course, everything cannot be perfect as we wish when you come, smile to each other and the work is done by itself. From time to time someone has a bad mood in this situation it is hard to avoid issues. Sometimes you just need to stop working for a while and start think about anything else and return to work later. 
PAPROCKI: Luckily, we have glass doors, so, we’re not able to slam them during the argument.
BRZOZOWSKI: But there were a few times when they were slammed. 
By the way, I’ve heard that someone recently broke down your door trying to rob a boutique. Could you tell me more about this case? 
BRZOZOWSKI: It was a funny situation. We were wondering what those people had in their minds and what they wanted to get by breaking into the boutique. 
PAPROCKI: On one hand, it is nice to think that they wanted to steal our clothes, but on the other hand, I don’t know what they wanted to do with it : sell it in the market? Well, it’s not that type of the cloths. First such a case happened two months ago. It was done by a group of professionals in masks with big bags and crowbars who were trying to break down the door, but fortunately, the lock was so strong that they couldn’t rob the boutique, only screwed up the door. The second incident occurred a week ago. The couple was walking past the shop and suddenly they looked in the window, for a moment, and started to break the glass. They didn’t even think that the alarm will start working or that the cameras are recording. Something draws them like a magnet to us. Well, we don’t get upset and take it as a sign of a success.

Interview: Helen Lify (Twins Queens)
Translated by Tonia Stokoz

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